Four years ago I made a promise to myself… I would never again join a gym that required more than a month-to-month commitment. You see, despite all my best intentions, I have a really bad habit of not going to the gym. This became especially apparent to me a few years ago when I joined a gym that was literally a few steps away from my apartment. There was absolutely no excuse for me not to go to the gym and yet I still couldn’t motivate myself to go on a regular basis. That’s when I realized that no matter how hard I try to convince myself, I just don’t like traditional “exercise”. The words running, treadmill, elliptical, stair master, weights etc. are enough to keep me under the warmth and comfort of the covers on my bed. I envy people who LOVE going to the gym and who let nothing get in their way of staying physically fit… and who actually enjoy the process.
As you can imagine, with this mindset it’s been challenging for me to put a plan into place for getting physically fit before I become pregnant. Here are some of the areas that I’ve been exploring for the past month:
I finally have motivation on my side. I am highly motivated to get in shape before becoming pregnant because I want to feel strong and continue to be physically active through my pregnancy. I’m deeply inspired by other pregnant women who are out in the world, doing the things that I’d like to do when I’m pregnant. The other thing that motivates me is FUN. It’s imperative that I find an activity that I enjoy and the fact that it can also be considered exercise is just an added bonus. More on that below.
I decided to take a closer look at the language I was using when thinking or speaking about exercise. The power behind ones choice of words is often underestimated. I quickly realized that I was using dis-empowering language. I always coupled any form of exercise (even the ones I enjoyed) with words like: should, have to, or need to. While these words might motivate some people, I find them completely dis-empowering. I decided to make a conscious effort to use more empowering language and started to use words like: want, could, can. Think about it for a minute… what sentence do you find more motivating? “I should go for a walk” or “I want to go for a walk.”
If you’re wanting to stay active and physically strengthen your body it’s so important that you find an activity that you truly enjoy. When you do, it’s so much easier to choose empowering language and keep your motivation high. I’ve come to the conclusion that for the most part I don’t like to do things that are classified as exercise. Upon some further exploration I realized a few things about myself that will impact my choice in activity:
1. I get bored easily. Workout dvd’s are great for the first week or two but I quickly lose interest because it’s the same routine and I know exactly what’s coming next.
2. I like to explore new things and I love adventure.
3. I love being outdoors, especially when I’m in harmony with nature.
This might seem like a really simple list but I had a few “ah-ha” moments.
I’m making a commitment to my fitness routine, one month at a time in order to combat my tendency to get bored easily and to honour my desire to try new things. I’m loving the social shopping/group coupon phenomenon because it’s helping me achieve this goal affordably (okay, I’ll be honest, I’m addicted).
Sites like Groupon, LivingSocial and SocialShopper are enabling me to get some great deals on fitness classes without a long term commitment. For example, right now I’m in the middle of a 30 Day Fitness Challenge that I set for myself. I bought a 30 day unlimited pass to Exhale Studio for $30 from Groupon (normally $150) and I’m absolutely loving it! Some of my favourite classes are Dance Hall, Hip Hop, Stiletto Fit, Ballet Pilates, Burlesque, Pilates/Yoga Fusion and Restorative Yoga. Boredom is nowhere in sight.
Once my 30 days are up I’m going to switch things up and do a Kick Boxing Bootcamp and after that I’m taking Swing & Salsa Fusion dance classes. I’m so glad that I’ve discovered that exercise does NOT have to be boring and repetitive. Technically I’m exercising, but it sure doesn’t feel like it! 🙂